Getting Started with Kite Surfing

Kite surfing has enjoyed explosive growth as an adventure sport. This guide provides an overview of the gear, safety aspects and techniques needed for beginners to confidently embark on their kite surfing journey.

Choose Your First Kite

A 2-3 line trainer kite that relaunches itself if it hits the water is safest for learning. Sizes between 5-8 meters work for a variety of wind conditions.

Kite Surfing Board

Start with a wider, more buoyant soft-top board for stability until the hang-glider effect is controlled comfortably.

Safety Equipment

At minimum, wear a certified kite helmet, PFD and boots with something gripping the board like padless kite gloves or mitts.

Kite Leash Attachments

A quick release safety system tethers the kite to the surfer to avoid dangerous inflight accidents.

Selecting a Suitable Location

Find an area with consistent onshore wind, flat shoreline complimenting the conditions, obstacle-free space and preferably moderate wind strengths.

Conditions for Learning

Ideal are 13-17 knots with gusts under 20 for 1-2 line kite familiarization.

Understand Kite Control Basics

Master relaunching, depowering the canopy for steering in/out, and use of control bars before being on the water.

Dual Line Control

Know which line achieves up/down, left/right movement by visualizing the kite position overhead.

On Land Harness Familiarization

Get a feel for being connected in the harness before attaching the kite and anticipate how it impacts body positioning.

Introducing Kite Power

With an instructor, have them apply small amounts force very briefly for one’s body to adapt.

In Water Handling

Gain confidence body dragging, side body dragging to harness arm positions in the water until entire process feels polished.

Progressing to Kneeboarding

When prepared boardwork skills follow,use trainer/relative wind to start kneesailing as ability and comfort dictates.

Developing Kite Skills Further

Riding upwindJumping
Algo/sheet/sleeper turnsHydrodynamics
Drop kneeKite loops & fly-aways
CarvingFried eggs & switch stance

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to learn?

Most can launch and ride with guidance within 5 sessions but proficiency takes months of incremental practice.

What certifications do I need?

None to start casually but some sites require beginner certification for insurance purposes.

How fit do I need to be?

Moderate fitness aids stamina, but kiting improves overall strength and fitness over time.


With a methodical step-by-step approach, proper safety gear and trained instruction, kite surfing is accessible and safe for novices to experience the thrill of powered wave-riding. Committed beginners can ride unassisted after 10-15 hours practicing core techniques.

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